Afghanistan Five (Sad) Years Later: The Return of the Taliban

This was the saddest news I read today, a report by the Sensil Council:

Failure to address Afghanistan’s extreme poverty
fuelling support for Taliban

After five years of international donor pledges to provide resources and assistance to Afghanistan, Afghans are starving to death, and there is evidence that poverty is driving support for the Taliban. Prioritising military-based security, the United States’ and United Kingdom’s focus on counter-terrorism initiatives and militaristic responses to Afghanistan’s opium crisis has undermined the local and international development community’s abilities to respond to Afghanistan’s many poverty-related challenges.

To see the full report: Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban

I don’t know what to do about it, or if I’m right, but Canada seems to be involved in a multi-intentioned lie of bad policy (with best intentions by those taking orders, I am sure) that is now a quagmire of angst and death—with the Afghani people paying the price, of course.

In our “humanitarian efforts” one in four children in Afghanistan, it now seems, die before the age of five—worse than even sub-Saharan Africa, that I believe is one in five.

I think we need to not only get out, but think of alternative humane options. Any ideas, or anyone pushing for ideas? RAWA and the rest of the Afghani people who haven’t had any peace since 1979 need love, support, a voice.

Obviously I am saddened by Prime Minister Harper’s choice, but I think it is a systemic rather than individual problem. Were not the Liberals under Martin involved (with US and French leaders) in Aristide’s removal in Haiti (after he won, I believe, over 90% of the popular vote)? It’s extraordinary to think that Western interests could truly trump supporting popular democracy elsewhere, even if the victor isn’t the candidate Western leaders or businesses would choose. It never ceases to amaze me that in 1953, Iran was a democracy. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t believe in love—and all us humans as sisters and brothers. Feel free, incidentally, to correct my inaccuracies—and give thanks you don’t live in Afghanistan. Never forget how sweet life is, and how sweet it can be.



4 Responses to “Afghanistan Five (Sad) Years Later: The Return of the Taliban”

  1. Sue Chambers says:

    This is a great web site, Pete! You’ve done a great job of summarizing current issues from a progressive and humane perspective while maintaining a great deal of compassion for those who are most affected by Western imperialist policies.

    I think you’re right about Canada being in a multi-intentioned lie of bad policy regarding our involvement in Afghanistan. I cringe every time I hear our prime minister claiming that he speaks for [all] canadians. I don’t know whether to be outraged at the arrogance of such claims or shake my head at such delusional/illusory thinking. It is not just incredible but disturbing that certain Western so called democratic nations seem to hold the view that other sovereign nations are not “democratic” if the result of fair and valid elections in those countries is the selection of a leader who does not meet with the “approval” of said Western democratic nations. Even more alarming is the fact that we allow these Western nations to take aggressive action against such countries– either by invading them or imposing sanctions/economic embargoes against them–because they don’t like the leader and would prefer to have their own puppets, er I mean preferred choice of leaders, in place in those countries. So what can we suggest as more alternative, humane options to replace what we’re currently dealing with?

    Namaste and bright blessings. Sue.

  2. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the kind words about the website. It’s been a labour of love.

    Your question is great of course–what can we do, what alternative etc. The truth is, I don’t know. Human nature is what it is, and unique to all of us yet we are also so wonderfully similar, as well. I dentical DNA (98, I think, with a chimp, and 34% identical with your average weed). It is extraordinary to think that human nature is trying to deal with human nature.

    I wrote a littlle about the nature of our nature in “Genocidosis”

    It’s interesting to really ask the hows of why certain governments are acceptable as opposed to others, when the answers upon a cursory glance since WWII—democratically elected Iran (1953), Chile (1973), Haiti (with Aristide, 2000) and on and on, lie far more along economic lines than ideological lines. In other words, more with how some other government will deal economically with the West, as opposed to how they treat their own people, which seems to be so often irrelevant—and then to have the removal of Saddam on democratic or humanitarian grounds give hypocrisy a bad name

    I wrote a little about that in the “Noam Chomsky in Lebanon” article on the website.

    I think it’s so important to somehow “stand” in a way that is clear and discerning yet committed to not being excessively divisive. In other words, to be as internal as external in the exploration, trying to understand how to bring people together as opposed to driving more wedges between groups of people.

    It’s all very well that one may despise Bush or Clinton when he was in power, and wish that he was out. But both had millions of supporters, and most of these people are just trying to get through their day and enjoy life like everybody else (like me, for instance). What is to be done with them? Love ‘em, that’s what.

    I think it’s so important to not dislike a conservative or a liberal or whatever ideologue is discomforting, and not get sucked into certain hate-mongering tactics by different pundits. We are all constrained and pulled by our human limitations, by our human nature, and to listen is more important than yelling—again, to do so without losing one’s integrity. It requires humility and strength and I think the ability to not only laugh, but to laugh at oneself, is also vital.

    I am so privileged here, without any discernible reason for having that privilege. I don’t want to take that for granted, and the least I can commit to is being wider in my worldview. I want to see both friends and foes as brothers and sisters, and from there keep trying to pull people together and understand what the hell is going on.

    I don’t know if it helps the course of events, but it’s vital for me to stay kind.

    Now how to keep a stance of solidarity across moderate ideologies (that are remarkable similar) shouldn’t be excessively difficult, but it has proved to be so.

    But hey, there have been slaves, disenfranchised people by colour and gender (and still are, of course), so maybe the ignorance of ideological projections will slowly get closer to ending (I mean who are these pundits kidding?—besides everyone), and we can all get on with making the world more just and loving.

    Namaste to you. Incidentally, Sue, you’re blogger numero uno, and I love ya for it. It’s you and me, kid.


  3. Sue Chambers says:

    Namaste Pete,

    Well, I’m honoured to be blogger numero uno. (Big smile) I also know that at least two people in California have looked at your site and read your blogs.

    You are right on the mark about the importance of being able to take a stance that makes it clear we object to the actions that flow from certain political ideologically/economically based decisions while doing our best to steer clear of the hate-mongering tactics. Even a passion for identifying and correcting social injustices/inequalities and actively working (peacefully) to eliminate these social ills can go awry if hatefulness ousts compassion from the driver’s seat.

    It can feel really daunting and sometimes discouraging to speak up if one feels like a lone voice in the wilderness, so I think it’s important to remember that we are not as helpless as we think we are, but we have to keep in perspective that things do change one person at a time–by sharing information on these issues and having meaningful, non-threatening, dialogues about them.

    Peace and blessings,

  4. [...] Well, they’re still in Afghanistan. In fact, Canada sent more troops there today. [...]

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